Citi Premier credit card review — The Points Guy
Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information and offers. Citi is a TPG advertising partner.
Citi Premier® Card overview
The Citi Premier® Card is an under-the-radar gem with a phenomenal range of bonus categories. While the card isn’t as strong on the redemption side as similar offerings from Chase or Amex, the ability to earn 3 points per dollar on air travel, hotels, gas stations, supermarkets and restaurants (including takeout) for just $95 a year is still a pretty great deal. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
* Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
This card is one of the best earners on everyday spending. It accrues 3 points per dollar on air travel, hotels, gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets. Not bad for a card with a $95 annual fee.
Not only that, but the points you earn with the Citi Premier are among the most versatile rewards currencies and are worth 1.8 cents each by TPG valuations. That’s because Citi has improved the ThankYou Rewards program substantially over the years to compete with American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Here’s what else you should know about this card — and why you might want to apply now.
Related: The best Citi credit cards
Citi Premier welcome offer
The Citi Premier is currently offering 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Citi uses a rather interesting rule to determine bonus eligibility, though.
You won’t be able to earn the bonus on the Citi Premier if you’ve opened or closed the Citi Rewards+® Card, Citi ThankYou® Preferred*, Citi Premier or Citi Prestige® Card* in the last 24 months. Most issuers count that time solely based on when you opened a card or received a bonus, but with Citi, your clock also resets if you close a card, so it’s all in the timing.
*The Citi ThankYou Preferred and Citi Prestige are no longer available for new applicants. The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
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There’s a $95 annual fee on the Citi Premier.
Related: The ultimate guide to credit card application restrictions
Earning points with the Citi Premier
The Citi Premier’s earning structure is one aspect where the card shines. Cardholders earn 3 points per dollar on purchases in the following categories, with no caps or annual limits:
The card also earns 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
These earning rates are among the most impressive of any travel rewards card, especially considering the Citi Premier’s affordable annual fee.
However, to coincide with the launch of Citi Travel with Booking.com, Premier cardholders can earn 10 points per dollar on bookings for hotels, rental cars and eligible attractions when booking through the portal through June 30, 2024.
Related: The 8 best credit cards with annual fees under $100
Citi Premier benefits
The Citi Premier is also a top choice for travelers, thanks to its participation in the ThankYou Rewards program, which currently has 14 airline transfer partners and two hotel partners.
While you’ll notice that many of the frequent-flyer programs are those of international airlines, there are still some high-value (and easily redeemable) awards to be booked through them.
For instance, you can leverage Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles for decent business-class award availability on those airlines and their SkyTeam partners, get some phenomenal deals on Star Alliance awards using Avianca LifeMiles and offset paid fares with JetBlue TrueBlue.
You can also redeem your ThankYou Points for travel directly through the Citi portal at a rate of 1 cent each, but that’s well below TPG’s valuation of ThankYou points at 1.8 cents each, a number derived in part from Citi’s extensive list of transfer partners.
Related: The ultimate guide to Citi ThankYou Rewards
CITI PREMIER BENEFITS
Much of the Citi Premier’s value proposition comes from its ability to earn bonus points in a slew of categories without charging a hefty annual fee. As such, you shouldn’t expect an overwhelming number of perks, but there are several benefits of this card that can help you recoup your annual fee:
- $100 annual hotel credit: You’ll enjoy a $100 credit once per calendar year for single-stay hotel bookings of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) made through the Citi travel portal.
- Extended warranty protection: Adds 24 months to a manufacturer’s warranty.
- Damage and theft protection: Repairs or replaces an item damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase (up to $10,000 per incident and $50,000 per year).
- World Elite Mastercard benefits: As a World Elite Mastercard, the Citi Premier confers several travel-related perks that consumers might not know about. These include a $5 monthly Lyft credit after taking three rides in a calendar month and access to the Mastercard luxury hotels and resorts portfolio for on-property perks like complimentary breakfast and room upgrades upon availability. Through the World Elite Mastercard program, you’ll also enjoy perks like cellphone protection and Global Emergency Services.
- Citi® Entertainment: This program gives cardholders special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events — from concerts and sporting events to unique dining experiences and movie screenings — before the general public can buy them.
- No foreign transaction fees: Like any good travel card, the Citi Premier allows you to travel freely without incurring a fee on international spending.
Which cards compete with the Citi Premier?
As an affordable travel rewards card, the Citi Premier has a few direct competitors that might be a better fit for you:
- If you prefer Chase cards: The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, with an annual fee of $95, competes directly with the Citi Premier. While Chase’s transfer partners (including United MileagePlus and Southwest Rapid Rewards) might be more beneficial for many travelers, there are some overlaps, including Singapore KrisFlyer, Emirates Skywards and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. For more information, read our full review of the Sapphire Preferred.
- If you want a flat earnings rate: Try the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. It, too, charges a $95 annual fee, but this card comes with a less lucrative (but much simpler) earning rate of 2 miles per dollar on all purchases. Instead of an annual hotel credit, you’ll get up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application credit once every four years with the Venture. You’ll even get two annual lounge visits per year to Capital One’s nascent network of airport lounges — or use those passes at over 100 Plaza Premium lounge locations. For more information, read our full review of the Venture Rewards.
- If you want loads of perks: One of the Citi Premier’s closest competitors over at American Express is the American Express® Gold Card, which earns 4 points per dollar at restaurants, 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year (then 1 per dollar), 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases. The Amex Gold Card also comes with up to $10 in monthly dining credits at select restaurants (up to $120 in annual statement credits) and up to $10 in monthly U.S. Uber Cash (up to $120 annually), offsetting the majority of the $250 annual fee (see rates and fees). Enrollment is required for select benefits. For more information, read our full review of the Citi Premier.
For additional options, check out our full list of travel rewards cards.
Read more: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Citi Premier: Which mid-tier travel card is better?
Despite a bevy of competitors, the Citi Premier’s long list of bonus categories and solid sign-up bonus make it one of the most lucrative points-earning cards in its price range. The solid of ThankYou Rewards transfer partners makes this card compelling, especially for travelers who desire the flexibility to redeem points with various loyalty programs. It’s worth a look if you’re partial to Citi.
Official application link: Citi Premier Card with 60,000 bonus ThankYou points after $4,000 in spending in the first three months of account opening.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox, Stella Shon, Eric Rosen and Christina Ly.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, click here.